Religious Discrimination Brought to Public Attention Once More as Muslim Drivers Fired for Refusing to Drive a Truck Full of Beer Win Lawsuit

Posted by on November 23, 2015 in Law Firm, Public Relations, Religious Discrimination | Comments Off on Religious Discrimination Brought to Public Attention Once More as Muslim Drivers Fired for Refusing to Drive a Truck Full of Beer Win Lawsuit

Back in 2009, two Muslim Somali-American truck drivers lost their jobs because they refused on religious grounds to deliver consignments of beer. Recently, a jury in Illinois awarded the two former drivers with the Star Transport company $240,000 in damages, after a US District Court Judge found in favor of the men back in March. MahadAbass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale, who were represented in their case by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, were given their verdict in just 20 minutes when the jury convened on the 20th of October to determine their damages.

In light of this case, broadcaster Megyn Kelly of Fox news courted some controversy by comparing the case to that of Christian Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who served a brief prison sentence after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples on religious grounds. The argument was that the Star Transport case suggests that the government is willing to ‘pick and choose’ which religions to support in equal rights cases, with the Muslim men winning their case and Christian Kim Davis being penalized for observing her religion. Fox News is known for being a conservative area of the media, however this case has drawn attention in both liberal and conservative spheres.

On What Grounds Were The Truck Drivers Awarded Damages? Under Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is the duty of an employer to make allowances for the religious beliefs of their employees, as long as this does not present an unreasonable issue in terms of their business. Given that it had been demonstrated that drivers working for Star Transport regularly swapped and covered each other’s work, the judge determined that there was no good reason to deny requests from the Muslim drivers not to be required to move consignments that conflicted with observing their religion.
How Does This Compare With the Kim Davis Case? While the rights of employees to observe their religion are protected by the Civil Rights Act, in the case of people who are elected into official roles, like Ms Davis, some of these rights are legally waived in order that they can serve all of the people in their area properly. A legal expert from Columbia University was asked on NPR about the Kim Davis case, and said that her role as county clerk was simply to verify that couples who planned to marry met the state requirements to do so, and that her views on same sex marriage should therefore have been irrelevant.

Additionally, others have argued that in the case of the two truck drivers, who lost their jobs, or of gay couples in Kentucky who were not granted their legal right to marry, something real had been taken away from them, whereas all someone opposed to gay marriage was losing by complying with a law that permits it is losing a concept.